FDA OKs first menthol e-cigarettes, citing potential to help adult smokers

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized menthol-flavored electronic cigarettes for adult smokers, the government’s strongest indication yet that vaping flavors can reduce the harms of traditional tobacco smoking.

The FDA said it authorized four menthol e-cigarettes from NJOY, the vaping brand recently acquired by tobacco giant Altria, which also makes Marlboro cigarettes.

The decision lends new credibility to vaping companies’ longstanding argument that their products can help blunt the toll of smoking, which is blamed for 480,000 U.S. deaths annually due to cancer, lung disease and heart disease.

But parent groups and anti-tobacco advocates are certain to be disappointed by the decision after years of pushing against the availability of flavors like menthol, which are more popular with teens.

All the e-cigarettes previously authorized by the FDA have been tobacco flavored, which isn't widely used by young people who vape.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.